Hi my name is Milo. I am hear to talk about a new three part series that we have put together for those looking to open up their own vintage clothing store and for those who already have a vintage clothing store but just can’t seam to get it to perform much better than the breaking even point.
This three part series was put together by individuals who have been in your shoes. We all had to put together a business plan and raise capitol, we all had to negotiate leases with greedy landlords and we all had to master the day to day operations of running a retail store. With over 20 years of combined experience we have come up with a formula that is transferable to anyone who is determined and dedicated to opening vintage clothing store.
You may be dabbling with the idea of opening a vintage clothing store verse a store that carries modern or trendy apparel, the choice is up to you. We chose Vintage clothing for a number of reasons. First and foremost we wanted to spread the message of recycling textiles. Each year American alone collectively throw out over 3 trillion pounds of textiles each year into our landfills. That is a 3 with over 14 zeros behind it.
If we were going to spend our hard earned time and money developing a business plan, we wanted it to be something meaningful. Not just another store that caters to a view trendy designers and whatever their celebrity guinea pigs are wearing. We wanted to start a business that would revolutionize the way people thought about clothing and fashion all together, thus a new concept was born.
I say new concept because these are not the mom & pop vintage shops of the past with a few select pieces that basically only cater to desire of the purchaser and a few of their counterparts. These are retail stores that look and feel like a typical mall store, with branding and events but with one major difference, the product and fixtures are now one of a kind and recycled.
These are stores that do not just carry one rare t-shirt or pair of vintage jeans, but instead carry over 100 t-shits and 200 jeans for their patrons to choose from. Fashion like art is not original; it is developed from copying past styles and claiming it as you own. For this reason some of our best customers believe it or not are fashion designers looking for the next big trend.
I opened my first vintage clothing store over 12 years ago on a shoe string budget. I read countless books and even spent time working in vintage retail outlets to study the way customers shopped. I eventually put together my first business plan and raised just over 20k dollars and opened my first store. I am not saying that you can open profitable store for just 20k, it may be a little more or less depending upon your location and market; however, the important thing is you understand what is and what is not necessary in the first stages of putting together your business. Within the first year I paid of my investors and put over 100k in my pocket that I used to start more stores and eventually a wholesale division.
I passed my formula onto a couple of friends and they were met with great success as well. Over the years the formula was being used and perfected by vintage shops around the world. This lodged us into finding a way to supply wholesale products to shop owners, like myself and others on a grand level.
In the past ten years I have worked with all types of buyers and shop owners who were looking to source vintage clothing for their stores. Many of them are still are customers and have been successful running not just one but a few stores. Others customers have not done so well. I might even go as far as to say that we have pissed a few people off along the road. Not on purpose mind you, it was the way their business was set up.
There were a few major differences in the way these buyers operated their business as opposed to the way other buyers did. The most important difference was the bottom line. This is important for you to understand at this point in your venture.
One person opens a store and barely gets by, they can’t seem to find enough product because they are limiting themselves to rare items that are not readily available thus limiting their market. They are running on limited cash flow, they have no concept of in store marketing, hiring the right employees or how to build a brand. These buyers usually last around two years before they have to shut their doors and declare a financial loss.
A second person opens a store catering to a larger market with a structured business and operations plan. They focus on their business location, establishing relationships with vendors, inventory control and incentives. These buyers were very successful and were able to get mark-ups on their products that were similar to a jeweler and not a textile retailer.
One our favorite Chinese Proverb is that you can provide someone a fish and they eat one meal, if you teach them how to fish and they can eat for a lifetime.
We realized that we could provide great recycled product for people all day to retail, but if we didn’t provide a way for them to learn how to market it and run a successful business for themselves, they would never reach the financial freedom that they hoped to achieve when getting business into business for themselves.
If you are using your own hard earned money, or your friends and families money to start a venture you owe it not only to yourself to find out everything that you need to know about that business you are getting into.
Over the years we have spoken at conferences and to students at universities and private colleges sharing with them these techniques that we learned on how to open and operate a successful Vintage Clothing Store.
In the first volume of our series, from loan to lease we cover everything that you need to know about
• Business plans
• Raising Capitol
• Lease Negotiation
• and more
In the second volume from finish out to employees we cover everything that you need to know about
• Finish out
• Employee Training
• And more
In our third volume building a brand we cover everything that you need to know about
• And more
We also offer a bunch of different business solutions for those just starting out and those who have been in the business for a while looking to improve their game. Everything from employee handbooks, marketing schedules, business plans, operations plans and more.
Or you can take advantage of our one and one consulting services.
A successful business plan is a living roadmap to your future, not just a document that will sit in your desk drawer. The vintage clothing industry is no exception. Not only do you need to create a mission statement to synchronize your company’s activities with a clear corporate vision, but you need to show yourself as well as you investors that you have plan of action towards profitability. It is important to create a good business plan that focuses on the following topics pertaining to your store.
- Business Description
- Business Concept
- Industry Analysis
- Mission Statement
- Goals – Financial Predictions Four Years Out
- Project Objectives
- Value Proposition
- Operation Plans
- Products and Services
- Financial Statements